Managing Your Catering Contacts

It is important for every service business, especially caterers, to understand their customers, and potential customers. I talk to many companies that try to manage everything through different spreadsheets and even notebooks. This can work – but it is cumbersome to say the least. There are much better solutions through software packages that specialize in contact management.

A good CRM (customer relationship management) software can be invaluable to your business. Most CRM programs break your contacts up into 2 different categories – leads & accounts. Think of a lead as a prospect – they have not purchased yet. Accounts are companies who have more than likely purchased your product at one point. Within the account there will be one or more contacts.

For each lead, account, or contact, you can set different tasks and document important notes. For example, we may want to set a follow-up call to a lead in the database to move a sales process along – or even just begin a sales process. You may want to set a task to send a new account a thank-you letter. 

Along with the tasks, document important notes from calls or emails. The notes and tasks become “the diary” for the lead or account. Anybody in your organization can then see all the communication that has transpired – even if they were never personally involved.

The CRM system can also track demographics, trends, forecasts – or other custom details you may want. You can then easily report on all of this relevant data to help make good business decisions.

In addition to Total Party Planner integrating CRM with the complete event details, here are a few programs that focus strictly on CRM:

Salesforce – http://www.salesforce.com
Zoho – http://www.zoho.com/crm
Sugar CRM – http://www.sugarcrm.com/crm/

Each one of the programs has pros and cons – including the pricing structure. Our sales & customer service teams at Total Party Planner chose Zoho for a good mix of features and price. If you want a very detailed review of the top 40 software solutions, here is a handy link (you will be asked to supply your name, address, email, etc – but the report does become available):


Do you have a CRM preference, or just an interesting way of managing your business contacts – let us know!